Rajiv Gandhi assassination case convict Nalini Sriharan was released on 30-day parole on Thursday to attend the wedding of her daughter, NDTV reported. The Madras High Court had granted her leave for a month on July 5.
She will stay in Vellore with her daughter Harithra Sriharan, mother Padmavati, sister Kalyani and brother Bhagyanathan, and is not allowed to travel to her home in Chennai’s Royapettah locality, The Indian Express reported.
Nalini Sriharan is not allowed to meet politicians or talk to the media, as per the court’s order. The court had granted the convict parole for a day last year to make funeral arrangements following her father’s death. But this is the first time Nalini has been granted 30-day parole in her 27-year-long imprisonment.
Nalini had sought six months of ordinary leave in February, saying a life convict can get a month’s “ordinary leave” every two years. She pointed out she had not applied for it even once in 27 years. Her mother made a similar representation the following month. She moved the High Court after her petition was not considered by prison officials. State Public Prosecutor A Natarajan told the court that rules permitted only 30 days of leave.
Former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi was killed in Sriperumbudur on May 21, 1991, when an operative of the Liberation Tigers of Tamil Eelam set off an RDX-laden belt she had under her belt. The LTTE was seeking revenge for the Indian government’s decision to send troops to Sri Lanka to help the island country fight the Tamil separatists.
In 1998, 26 people were sentenced to death for the conspiracy, but a year later the Supreme Court upheld the death sentences of only four of them – Nalini Sriharan, Murugan, T Suthendraraja alias Santhan and AG Perarivalan. Three others – Jayakumar, Robert Payas and Ravichandran – were sentenced to life imprisonment and the remaining 19 were freed. In 2000, Nalini’s death sentence was commuted to life imprisonment. In 2014, the top court commuted the death sentences of the other three as well, saying the Centre cannot unduly delay examining their mercy petitions.